So here's a topic I haven't discussed on the blog before: jobs. Real-life, real-world, full-time, jobs. When I began college, these future “jobs” were abstract notions, but as I come closer and closer to graduation, (May 5!) I have begun to seriously search for post-graduation employment opportunities. So many students in my graduating class, and, of course, nationally, have turned to the option of graduate school programs, but this is something that I personally have no desire to leap into immediately, if at all. As someone with little idea what kind of degree I would even be interested in pursuing there, not to mention the hefty price tag that accompanies such an education, I have put that possibility on the far back burner and turned instead to job hunting. Now, I have some idea of what I very much hope to do for at least a year following my graduation, but in terms of long-term career paths, I am sadly without any sort of direction. Like many of my classmates, I know where my fortes lie, but either do not think I can find a job in a corresponding field of work, or simply do not believe that these strengths are substantial or special enough from which to build a successful career.
I was recently talking about this dilemma with a friend (see synonyms venting, complaining, and freaking out). We both expressed feelings of being overwhelmed by the realities of finding employment, and the fact that in general, we just don’t know what we want to do with our lives. Somewhere in our conversation, we came upon the idea of simply visiting the career center and seeing what the counselors might be able to do to help. Of course, we knew not to expect them to tell us what kind of jobs to pursue, but wanted to see if they could give us any sort of direction or assistance as we tried to come up with the answers on our own. I scheduled an appointment, and came back the following week to take two different assessments, the results of which would be used to guide my personal thinking, as well as provide me with a better understanding of my personality and preferences.
At my follow-up appointment, a career counselor went over these results with me and showed me a number of online resources that will be helpful to me as I consider employment options. The personality test and the preference indicator both showed me aspects of my personality and interests which I have always known, but never truly been 100% conscious of. Are you curious about the results? I’ll reveal that I am categorized as an ISFJ, (or that I am an Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, and Judging type), with clear preferences for the “artistic” (specifically, writing and mass communication, visual arts and design, teaching and education, and culinary arts). If you have the opportunity to take these assessments, I’d definitely recommend giving it a try. Although I know these things about myself, it’s another thing to see them listed out and described in detail.
The best advice that my career counselor gave me was to use the indicator tests to find a job that suits both my personality and of course my interests. Although it assumes an ideal world to think that I’m going to be able to find a job that perfectly aligns with the things I like and is compatible with my working and learning preferences, it is nevertheless something strive to find. After all, if we’re “stuck” with a particular job until we retire, why not do something that makes us happy on some level? In my previous employment experiences, I’ve met a number of people quite unhappy with what they’re doing, and hoped that I wouldn't fall into their ranks. Although I’m still uncertain about what the next decade or two has in store, my trip to the Career Center last week has helped me put some of my fears to rest, and, at the very least stop freaking out and face the future with a calm mind and a clear head.
Everyone at the Career Center was so kind and helpful. Other friends who have utilized their services also have told me that they felt reassured and “heard” when they went, and for graduating seniors, this is something important. If you’re a UNC Asheville student unsure about what to do with your life, regardless of grade level, the best time to start thinking about it is now. Use the Career Center! It’s a great, free, resource, and will certainly help you think about the future in different terms. If you’re planning on coming here in the future, don’t forget to check out this valuable campus gem—you’ve got to initiate the conversation, but you can be sure that they’re waiting to hear from you!